Road transport operators should be included in any diesel scrappage scheme

The FTA is calling for tax cuts for small operators and a national scrappage scheme to help firms meet the cost of operating in clean air zones (CAZs).

The call comes ahead of the government’s air quality plan announcement next week, which is expected to lay out plans to set up CAZs in cities across the UK.

The FTA fears restrictions on older diesel vehicles in the CAZs will hit smaller operators hard, many of whom operate vehicles that do not meet the Euro-6 standard demanded by the zones.

It estimates the additional cost of compliance could be more than 150% of annual turnover for some of its smaller members.

FTA national policy head Christopher Snelling said: “The proposed CAZs pose a serious risk to the viability of many small businesses based in these zones, and a risk to jobs and local prosperity.

“When the CAZs are introduced, there will only be five years’ worth of compliant HGVs in the national fleet, meaning specialist operators and small businesses, which tend to purchase second hand, will face a cost burden if they are to upgrade vehicles automatically.

“The situation will be worse for vans, where only two and a half years’ worth of compliant vehicles will be available. This is not long enough to create a second-hand market in compliant vehicles, and thus requires an immediate purchase of a new vehicle, threatening the way of life for many small businesses.”

Snelling said FTA members believe the government should take some responsibility for the financial impact the new legislation and zones will create.

“Air quality is a national problem and there should be national measures to solve it. Tax breaks or a scrappage scheme funded by the government could help business and diesel car drivers cope with the changes and reduce the need for local restrictions,” he said.

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan has previously called for a scrappage scheme.

Local authorities should enforce the use of consolidation centres

Local authorities need to enforce the use of city consolidation centres and allow more night time deliveries into city centres if they are to create efficient supply chains, according to a report from JLL.

The More than the last mile report from the property and investment services firm examines how smarter logistics will help shape cities in the future.

It predicts rising demand for logistics facilities, as online retail and e-commerce continues to grow.

These facilities should include shared-user consolidation centres, transshipment facilities, where goods are transferred to environmentally friendly vehicles; centralised click and collect facilities, last mile fulfilment centres; and multi-storey buildings and underground warehouses, the report said.

The report argues that intelligent transport systems are still a distant possibility for most cities, better use of old technologies should be applied.

It calls for local authorities to promote the use of city consolidation centres and shared consolidation centres “through appropriate regulations and incentives”.

The report also says there is a “strong case” for lifting night-time restrictions on city deliveries to allow for increased night-time deliveries. This would make more effective use of the transport network at times when it has capacity.

The report warns against placing warehouses and logistics hubs too far out of city centres arguing this will drive up the distance from warehouse to customers and increase emissions.

JLL head of EMEA Industrial and logistics Guy Gueirard said a more holistic view needs to be adopted if cities are to create efficient supply chains.

“To understand the challenges of logistics in cities and the potential opportunities for change, we need to take a wider supply chain perspective that looks beyond cities,” he said.

Cycle lanes are short term pain for longer gain, says minister

Congestion caused by cycle lanes is a short-term pain for the long-term gain of reducing traffic levels in London, DfT minister Andrew Jones told the Transport Committee hearing on urban congestion this week.

Asked by committee member Rob Flello MP why the DfT continued to fund bus and cycle lane schemes in London when research suggested the schemes had contributed to congestion, the minister said: “I am aware that bus and cycle lanes have caused a degree of controversy – I suggest TfL is thinking of how it can encourage a modal shift and is thinking a long way ahead by trying to provide the right infrastructure.”

He added: “Cycle lanes encourage a modal shift to public transport, or a more active mode of travel, so TfL is thinking long term and we should be encouraging local decision making. Our role is to provide financial support, ideas and best practice.”

Asked by Flello if the DfT would continue to support local decision making if TfL continued to ignore the evidence that cycle and bus schemes were creating more congestion, Jones said: “This is a local decision and the people of London can chose their representatives and express that choice via the ballot box.”

Jones said the government had the “ultimate nuclear option” of suspending a local authority department if it was not performing but added: “TfL is a world leader in making maximum use of a finite, historical urban realm for transport and it is good at it, so it is not my job to say ‘no’.

“TfL is responsible to the mayor and it is up to the people who elect the mayor to have the final say.”

Iain Stewart MP asked what measures are being taken to measure the cost benefit of some cycle schemes, pointing to a road in his area of London that he claimed had seen congestion rise since the introduction of a cycle lane, resulting in “HGV’s sitting stationary and emitting NOx”.

Jones said local authorities are responsible for monitoring these schemes. “We don’t plan these schemes, these are local schemes – it comes down to local authorities planning and implementing to meet demand, not just now but in the future to cater for what will be significant cycling growth.”

DfT deputy director of traffic and technology Anthony Ferguson added: “If an HGV is sitting in static traffic it is probably an issue about freight strategy rather than whether cyclists are taking too much road space.”

He added that for this reason Tfl is better placed to deal with local issues than the DfT.

Fuel efficient driving course, LoCity Driving, available now

A new driving course for HGV drivers and transport managers, which aims to help cut fuel costs and lower London’s pollution levels, has been launched this week by TfL.

Introduced under the auspices of the TfL-backed LoCity environmental programme, LoCity Driving is intended to aid HGV and van drivers, as well as transport managers, in cutting their vehicles’ environmental impact and slashing their fuel costs.

The DVSA-approved and CPC-accredited training course is delivered as a one-day classroom-based session with separate e-learning modules.

The areas covered include: the relationship between driving style, fuel consumption and environmental impact; how regular maintenance and vehicle checks can cut costs and emissions; fuel efficient driving techniques.

Drivers and operators can book LoCity Driving course and find out more by emailing:

LoCity has already released a number of eco-driving videos to aid operators and drivers alike.

Councils need to stop scapegoating hauliers over the condition of local roads, says RHA

RHA has demanded that councils “get their act together” and stop scapegoating UK hauliers for road damage in a bid to cover up their own failure to maintain their roads infrastructure.

It follows a report from the Local Government Association (LGA) last week that claimed rising numbers of HGVs were pushing the state of the UK’s local roads “over the edge”.

Pointing to government figures that reveal HGV-transported goods rose 5% last year, the LGA warned motorists to “brace themselves” for a surge of potholes.

It said HGVs “exert massively more weight on road surfaces than cars, causing them to crumble far quicker” and warned that the rise in HGV numbers, combined with lack of funding, “could push our local roads network over the edge”.

However, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett hit back. “Many of our worst roads have little or no HGV traffic while many of the best are used by HGVs all the time.

“Local authorities have failed to maintain their infrastructure. Maintain roads properly and repair them after the installation of pipes and cables, and there will be little problem with pot-holes. Failure to do so will see problems multiply, along with the cost of repair and associated congestion,” he said.

He added: “Road hauliers move 85% of the UK economy, delivering food, clothing, houses and jobs. The roads are their main place of work and the industry is doing its job. We expect infrastructure providers, working with central government, to get their act together and do theirs”.

“Our lorries now are no more damaging to our roads than they have been for many years, in fact quite the opposite. However, the damage to vehicle suspensions and tyres as a result of poorly maintained roads costs the haulage operator thousands of pounds each year”.

London mayor Sadiq Khan calls for diesel scrappage scheme

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is calling on the government to introduce a diesel scrappage scheme, which could see 70,000 Euro-5 diesel vans and minibuses removed from London’s roads.

The mayor sets out his proposals this week in a report Proposal for a National Scrappage Scheme, which suggests such a scheme could be applied to cities across the UK.

The report uses London as an example city scheme and estimates the scheme would cost up to £515m in the capital over a two year period.

The key recommendations include:

  • Payments of £3,500 to scrap up to 70,000 Euro-5 vans and minibuses in London and a national fund to support charities and small businesses that often own older diesel vehicles. This fund would be around £245m, allowing small businesses and charities to buy or lease compliant vehicles;
  •  A credit scheme valued at £2,000 to help low-income households scrap up to 130,000 polluting cars, with incentives for car clubs;
  • Payments of £1,000 to help scrap up to 10,000 older purpose built taxis in London.

The report also recommends the government consider linking scrappage payments to plug-in van grants and gives “additional incentives” to encourage fleet businesses to switch to cleaner vehicles and to trial or increase the number of new, cleaner vehicles used in city centres.

A nationwide scheme would also help the UK meet its legal obligations on European pollution limits, incentivise diesel drivers to switch to cleaner vehicles, and improve the health of the nation, the report argues.

It added that such a move if adopted would do away the cost of introducing the Ultra Low Emission Zone and reduce NOx emissions in London by 40%.

Khan said: “For years government has incentivised and encouraged people to purchase diesel cars. It is only fair that they now helps people to switch to cleaner alternatives. The government needs to help us clean up the dangerous air in London.”

Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental Leasing Association, said the proposed fund “could make a significant contribution in reducing emissions by removing some of the oldest, most polluting vans and cars from our streets.

“There are some urban journeys or tasks that require a car or van, but those vehicles should be clean, safe and modern and should be used efficiently.”

DfT to pilot fleet review scheme to help small hauliers cut fuel usage

The government is to launch a pilot HGV fleet review scheme to encourage smaller hauliers to cut fuel usage through increased driver training and in-cab technology.

The pilot is one of a range of measures aimed at cutting road freight emissions which are outlined in the DfT’s recently published Freight Carbon Review.

The review looks at ways the road freight industry can cut its emissions. These are estimated to make up 17% of carbon emissions and 21% of NOx emissions in the UK.

It is part of wider government plans to slash UK emissions by at least 80% by 2050.

The pilot HGV fleet review scheme will be run by the Energy Savings trust.

It has been prompted by evidence that smaller operators are significantly less likely to invest in either driver training or telematics equipment.

The pilot will deliver a five-day bespoke training course for participating fleets.

Freight Carbon Review

Other measures outlined in the review include confirmation that the longer semi-trailer (LST) trial will be extended, and a government pledge to work with the FTA to encourage smaller hauliers to sign up to its Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme.

The review also set out plans to introduce laws to allow Category B driving licence holders operating alternatively-fuelled vans of up to 4.2-tonnes to carry an extra tonne in weight, to account for the heavier drivetrains.

Incentives to encourage hauliers to use cleaner, quieter vehicles in Clean Air Zones are also on the agenda.

The FTA welcomed the review and called on both government and the freight industry to make greater efforts to help cut freight emissions.

Christopher Snelling, FTA head of national and regional policy, said: “Making the switch to alternative fuels is challenging for many operators, with a lack of public refuelling infrastructure and the expense of new technology, so we need further government support.

“Industry, too, must play its part. Year-on-year, Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme (LCRS) members outperform the sector as a whole when it comes to carbon reduction.”


Waitrose introduces ten Scania CNG trucks to its fleet

Waitrose has introduced ten Scania compressed natural gas (CNG) powered trucks, which it is claimed will cut the retailer’s fuel costs by up to £1m and its CO2 emissions by 5,000 tonnes over five years.

The Scanias, P340 4x2s, are believed to be the first HGVs in Europe to use 26-inch diameter twin carbon fibre fuel tanks, which store gas at 250 bar of pressure.

This allows the trucks to compete with their diesel equivalents by increasing their range to up to 500 miles.

The technology, which was developed by Scania and US-based Agility Fuel Solutions, uses biomethane, a gas that emits 70% less Co2 than a conventional diesel engine.

Fuel for the vehicles will be supplied by renewable fuel supplier CNG Fuels.

Waitrose estimates each truck, which costs 50% more than its diesel equivalent, will repay the extra costs in two to three years through fuel savings per truck of around £15,000 to £20,000 per annum.

Justin Laney, John Lewis Partnership central transport general manager, said the trucks “deliver significant environmental and operational benefits to our business.  It’s much cleaner and quieter than diesel, and we can run five gas trucks for the same emissions as one diesel lorry”.

Philip Fjeld,  CNG Fuels chief executive, said the long distance range made the trucks a “game changer for road transport operators”.

He added: “High pressure carbon-fibre fuel tanks demolish the ‘range anxiety’ concerns that have made many hauliers reluctant to move away from diesel to CNG.”

David Burke, UK gas for Scania specialist sales executive, said: “Together with Waitrose and CNG Fuels we are developing a new UK market sector for dedicated gas vehicles which we believe will supersede the heavier dual-fuel models seen up until now.”

DfT backs dedicated gas-powered truck technology

The government should continue to back the development of gas-powered trucks, according to a DfT study.

The study found that Euro-6 dedicated gas powered trucks produce almost half as much nitrogen oxides (NOx) and less than one third of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) than diesel powered Euro-6 trucks.

The study, Emissions Testing of Gas-Powered Commercial Vehicles,  carried out by the DfT and the Low Carbon vehicle Partnership, also found evidence that diesel powered Euro-6 vehicles are pumping out “higher than expected” nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions and called for further investigations.

The study tested a range of both dedicated and dual fuel trucks running on “natural gas”.

The tests found that Euro-6 dedicated gas vehicles produced  NOx emissions of around 135 mg/km, on average, compared to an average of around 230 mg/km  from the Euro-6 diesel comparators.

The vehicles also produced around 20 mg/km of NO2 emissions, less than one-third of the 78 mg/km produced on average by diesel comparators. They also produced “very little” methane.

The dual-fuel diesel and natural gas system retrofitted to a Euro-6 diesel vehicle for the study did not perform as well. It delivered increases in average NOx emissions and hydrocarbon (THC) emissions in dual-fuel mode compared to its diesel-only mode. Carbon monoxide (CO) emissions were lower though.

The dual-fuel diesel and LPG system retrofitted to a Euro-6 diesel vehicle performed better, producing lower NOx emissions in its dual fuel mode compared to its diesel-only mode, although CO and THC emissions increased.

The study concluded that dedicated gas vehicles “have potential to deliver significant greenhouse gas savings”.

“DfT should therefore continue to support the development of gas vehicle infrastructure and gas-powered vehicles, particularly dedicated gas,” it said.

Construction, cycle lanes, and next-day delivery demand adds to London congestion, MPs told

Walking zone and cycling lane provision has added to congestion in London at least temporarily, TfL told the Transport Committee this week.

However, it remains part of its long term strategy to tackle the capital’s chronic congestion.

In a written submission to the Transport Committee’s hearing on urban congestion, TFL said that the Congestion Charge Zone (CCZ) had been successful in reducing traffic volumes in central London since its introduction in 2003.

TfL said that although there has been an increase in the number of vans, construction vehicles and private hire vehicles since, overall traffic levels in the CCZ area have fallen since its inception.

“Despite this, congestion levels in the Congestion Charging Zone returned to similar levels seen before the scheme as a consequence of works to provide more road space for walking and cycling and improvements to public transport, urban realm and road safety,” the evidence adds.

TfL stated cycling and walking infrastructure is integral to its long term strategy of reducing traffic by reducing the amount of short, private car journeys undertaken in preference to the former.

However, Christopher Snelling, FTA head of national and regional policy echoed MP Rob Flello’s line of questioning at the previous session of the committee, argued the congestion generated by these works was not short-term.

Snelling told the committee that FTA members had reported, during a recent survey, “substantial increases” in traffic congestion in areas where cycling and walking zones had been introduced.

Van traffic

TfL’s submission also forecast that trips by vans, which constitute 80% of freight road kilometres in London, compared to 20% by HGVs, will rise by more than a quarter (26%) by 2031.

“This represents 77% of the total growth in vehicle trips forecast for London as a whole. Over the same period, the number of  HGV kilometres are forecast to stay the same,” TfL said.

TfL called for a co-ordinated  and consistent approach from all players in the freight supply chain in order to minimise the impact of freight journeys on congestion.

It laid out a three pronged plan to cut freight trips into the city, shift freight trips to less congested times and use “the safest and cleanest vehicle, with an appropriately trained driver” for each delivery.

Consumer demand

Sam Clarke, director at Gnewt Cargo (pictured), which uses electric vans to operate final mile deliveries, pointed to rise in same day deliveries as a major reason for the rising numbers of vans in the city.

He called on retailers to step up to the plate, pointing out there were no retailers present at the hearing.

“Very rarely are retailers at any of these conversations and that is a piece that is lacking because there is no such thing as free delivery. We are all paying for it.

“We just can’t see what we are paying for and that element is creating a consumer purchasing scenario that is distorting the market. That ‘buy now, get it in an hour’ mentality is contributing to this increase in congestion.”

Tom Cherrett, professor of transport and logistics management at Southampton University, echoed this view, suggesting that the congestion charge in London be graded in a way that charged extra for deliveries into the city at certain times.

Congestion is estimated to cost London’s economy an estimated £5bn a year, according to TfL.